Want to Be More Productive? Get Out of Your Head

posted in: Productivity 0

Image of a man looking at a city from a distance and the phrase, Want to Be More Productive? Get Out of Your HeadYou’ve been meaning to get things done this week, but for some reason, things aren’t happening.

What’s more, your calendar is empty, so you actually have enough time to work on all those items on your to-do list.

Turns out, you’re thinking about the bills you have to pay, what you’re going to wear to the party on Saturday night, and if you should buy that new book you’ve heard so much about….

So, what’s the problem here?

You may be living too much inside of your head.

In this post, I offer a few helpful pointers to help you break free from overthinking, by taking action.

Stop for a moment and take a deep breath.

Okay, so you haven’t yet made those phone calls, opened the mail, or scheduled those doctor’s appointments.

No problem!

You’re going to take a few moments now to calm down, and stop thinking about your work or responsibilities.

Close your eyes, and breathe in and out slowly for at least a total of five times. Repeat as many times as necessary until you feel the edge has worn off. You should feel refreshed and refocused after you do this.

Alternatively, you could listen to some music or a podcast, watch a little TV, or go for a brief walk. The idea is to get you out of your head, and focus on something else.

Select one item from your to-do list

You should have a pretty good idea when it comes to the items on your to-do list.

That being said, take a look at your list, and just select one item to work on, right now.

If it helps you, you make want to turn over your list so you can’t see it, or put it aside so you’re not focusing your attention on it.

It doesn’t matter what item you select from your list, so long as it is only one item.

Turn your to-do into an action.

This is where the rubber hits the road. What you’re going to do now is take your to-do, and turn it into an actionable task.

The easiest way to do this is if you put a verb in front your to-do. Doing so makes it crystal clear as to what you should be doing, right now. Here’s a couple of examples to get you started:

Original to-do 

Eye doctor appointment   

Post office

Sunday brunch with Joe 

Action-based to-do

Phone eye doctor’s office to schedule appointment

Walk to post office to mail bills

Write an email to Joe about Sunday brunch

Put your body in motion.

The last step is to take action and complete your selected to-do. No sitting around and thinking about what you should be doing, or how it might play out. You are now going to get your body up and moving!

The trick is to simply focus on the verb at the front of your to-do. This will give you the boost you need to get going. So, in the examples above, you’d focus on the words, “Phone,” “Walk,” and “Write,” respectively, instead of getting caught up in the details of the to-do. Try it!

Should you feel yourself going back inside of your head, ask yourself whether you are physically doing what you said you would be doing when it comes to your to-do.

Are your hands picking up the phone and dialing the eye doctor? Are you getting out of your chair, putting your sneakers on your feet, grabbing the bills in your hand, and opening the front door? Are your hands on your computer’s keyboard and mouse, opening up your email program, and typing a new message?

If not, you’ll easily know what action you need to take.

How about you? How do you get out of your head and put your body into action? What have you found works best for you? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.